When Inter were left at the bottom of their Champions League drawing pot and Group C was the only group left on the board, very few fans or experts would have predicted the spot Inter would be in on the penultimate group stage matchday. With four points taken off of Barcelona, Inter can book their spot in the knockout rounds for a second consecutive year under the guidance of Simone Inzaghi. Needing just a result against a Viktoria Plzen side destined for European exit, Inter are favored to take the second spot in the group, and maybe more depending on results elsewhere.
We have been watching a dramatic rebound unfold for Inter in the month of October. The win at home over Barcelona sparked a belief in the team that has become a budding confidence. Inter have not played consistently with this level of swagger or perseverance in arguably about a year. The latest installment being a dramatic last gasp 4-3 win in Florence over a Fiorentina side who were playing with desperation after a terrible start to the season.
For the first time in weeks, Romelu Lukaku will be in the squad. He will likely not start, but should see some playing time late on. Also included in the squad is Roberto Gagliardini, who is also returning from injury. Marcelo Brozovic is still recovering from the issue he picked up on international duty and will need more time.
Viktoria Plzen have not enjoyed much of their time in the Champions League this season. Or any cup competition for that matter, as they were recently dumped out of the Czech domestic cup by fourth-tier opposition. They have been beaten handily by each of their group counterparts, though they did manage a couple of consolations goals while being routed by Bayern Munich on the last matchday.
There is no clear way back for the Czechs, but they will be looking to take some momentum from their second half in Munich to make a match out of this. Barcelona will surely be hoping for such a scenario as they try to stay alive.
0-2 (A) - 13/9/2022
Predicted Starting XIs
INTER (3-5-2): Onana; Skriniar, de Vrij, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mhkitaryan, Gosens; Dzeko, Lautaro.
VIKTORIA PLZEN (4-2-3-1): Stanek; Jemelka, Pernica, Hejda, Havel; Bucha, Kalvach; Masquera, Vlkanova, Holik; Chory.
Prediction: Inter 4-1 Plzen
As Inter fans, we have some tough memories from the position of controlling destiny. Fumbling in matches against PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona’s reserves, and Shakhtar Donetsk come to mind. However, this Inter feels different in the Champions League. Everyone is hitting their stride and things are starting to go well for the team, so I expect them to get the job done. Maybe even a late Romelu Lukaku goal to get his season kickstarted.